Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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A person with ‘Walking Corpse Syndrome’ thought they had gone into purgatory and was ‘stuck in a loop’

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Cotard’s Syndrome, also known as “Walking Corpse Syndrome,” is a rare condition that is notoriously difficult to diagnose. It causes individuals to believe that they are dead, dying, or do not exist and that parts of their bodies are missing or rotting away. This belief can affect the whole body or only specific parts of it. The condition is closely linked to other mental health ailments such as depression, and 89% of cases reported depression as a symptom.

The syndrome can be incredibly dangerous for those affected, as they may stop taking care of themselves, believing that they do not need to eat or treat themselves because their body is already dead. Recently, a person who had just experienced the syndrome took to Reddit to hold an AMA (ask me anything), where they answered questions about what it was like to be convinced they were dead for a time.

The person had just completed a three-day stay in a mental health hospital when they became convinced they had committed suicide and were in purgatory, stuck in a loop. They believed they could predict what was happening and tried to wake themselves up by pulling on their husband’s beard and biting themselves to feel pain, but nothing worked. They eventually became convinced they were having a heart attack and begged their husband to give them CPR. After that, they fell asleep and woke up feeling normal the next day.

The person described the experience as “confusing” and said they had “never known such fear,” but fortunately, they now know they are safe and alive. They also described the experience as “flipping through channels” where each channel was more terrifying than the last, and they had audio and visual disturbances during dissociation.

The syndrome was first recorded in 1874 in Paris, France, by neurologist and psychologist Jules Cotard, who named the condition after himself. Before that, there were recorded incidents of patients who believed they were dead and refused to eat anything.

In conclusion, Cotard’s Syndrome, or Walking Corpse Syndrome, is a rare condition that can cause individuals to believe they are dead, dying, or do not exist. It can be incredibly dangerous for those affected, and it is closely linked to depression. Although the exact cause of the syndrome is unknown, it is treatable with medication and therapy.

If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5 pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone

Jake Massey
Jake Massey
Journalist at the Medialinker Group


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